About the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP)
The MFP aims to reduce health disparities and improve behavioral health outcomes for underserved racial and ethnic populations by:
- Increasing the knowledge of mental and substance use disorder practitioners on issues related to prevention, treatment, and recovery support for individuals who are from racial and ethnic minority populations and who have a mental or substance use disorder;
- Improving the quality of mental and substance use disorder prevention and treatment services delivered to racial and ethnicity minority populations; and
- Increasing the number of culturally competent mental and substance use disorder professionals who teach, administer services, conduct research, and provide direct mental or substance use disorder services to racial and ethnic minority populations.
How does it work?
Through eight national behavioral health professional organizations, the program assists people who seek graduate degrees and plan to work to improve behavioral health outcomes for minority communities. These MFP grantee organizations receive grant awards annually to implement the MFP.
How did it start?
The MFP, initiated in 1973, is administered by the SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) and the SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). Initially, the program was designed to focus on increasing the number of doctoral-level professions only. However, in 2014, under President Obama’s Now Is The Time initiative, SAMHSA expanded the program to increase the number of culturally competent, master's-level behavioral health professionals available to serve youth ages 16 to 25 (MFP-Y) and to increase the number of available master's-level addiction counselors (MFP-AC).
To date, the MFP has three separate program areas:
- MFP-Traditional: doctoral level
- MFP-Y: master’s level
- MFP-AC: master’s level
The program closely aligns with the Affordable Care Act by addressing current and projected behavioral health workforce shortages and the need to train practitioners on recovery-based practices.